July 17 2017
Here is the interview of the wonderful Chiko Chan, I met her at FACTS in Made in Asia 2017 here in Brussels and she was lovely !
1. For how long have you been in cosplay ?
I did my first cosplay in 2004 so I´ve been in this hobby for 13 years now.
2. Cosplay is a time consuming hobby. how long does it take to craft your costumes ?
The time I spent on making a costume depends on the costume itself. Some are really easy and done in 1 – 2 weeks. Other wants need more weeks or even months. I think the average for a costume for me is around 4 – 6 weeks.
3. Any other hobby or passion besides cosplaying ?
As you might be expecting I like reading manga und watching anime, too. I think this is not surprising. Beside cosplay I also a volunteer helper at Germany's biggest association for Anime, Manga und Japan culture, “animexx e.V.”. I'm helping in some areas on their website “www.animexx.de” and I'm part of the management of the association itself. I´m also part of the organization team of the German convention “Animuc” in the sourth of Germany and responsible for the program, guest of honor and other parts involving the event area. Everything I do beside making my cosplays is really time consuming so the time I spend on making my costume is getting less. But since I love everything I do I'm enjoying spending my free time for it.
4. What materials are you using for cosplay crafting, worbla ? Foam ? Can you talk about that a little bit ?
I have to say: I'm really really bad at crafting. So this is something I really only do if absolutely necessary. So I'm afraid I can hardly tell anything about crafting. I tried out worbla in the past, but maybe I'm too stupid or the material naturally hates me. Not sure which is the reason, but it really dosen't work out even if the material itself is really nice. I did an armor once (Gwendolyn from Odin Sphere) out of foam. This was my first experience and it worked quite good. The material was soft and easy to work with. It also was really light and you didn't get hurt if you sit down in the costume. Painting was also no problem. But the material itself is not fitting for living long (especially with the wrong treatment). I think if I need to do some crafting I would use foam instead of worbla, because its easier for me. But I don't think I will choose cosplays in the future who will need crafting skills.
5. Do you have any favorite cosplayer ?
There are a LOT of great cosplayers that I admire for their work. I can't name all of them and to mention only 1 or 2 them would not be fair. But there are beginners and veterans which are doing an amazing job whatever it is on the cosplay, makeup, wig or crafting … there so many talented people I like to watch, follow and support.
6. Did you hurt yourself while making a cosplay or in convention ?
Yes, it happen all the time. When I'm sewing by hand I often get my fingers injured. Also when I make a fitting with pins still inside the fabric, I have a talent for hurting myself. During a convention I never get hurt because of the costume. But I think this is thanks to the fact, that I hardly have some armor or other tight cosplay parts. Whats mostly get hurt are my feet, because walking around in some highheel shows for around 14 hours is a really tough job.
7. Do you sell your old cosplays, or just keep it in a huge closet ?
I don't think that my costumes are worth to get sold. So I have never sold any of my old costumes. I keep them all safe at my parents place (because I don't have the space in my own room).
8. Who teached you to craft your cosplays ? Your family ? By reading books or watching youtube tutorials ?
For my first costume a friend of my mother helped me to find a suitable pattern in some magazines and explained to me how to work with them. After that for the sewing parts it was a learning by doing things. You see, I started with cosplay during a time when Youtube doesn't existed and searching for tutorials online was a pain in the ass. Most of my experience I was teaching myself or asking other cosplayers directly. I think that today it's a lot easier to find tutorials and watching videos. I also do this now. But around 10 years ago it was really difficult to get this help.
9. Which conventions are you going to this year ?
I think my list might be a little bit small. I will go to Made in Asia (Belgium), Animuc (Germany), Dokomi (Germany), ChisaiiCon (Germany), AnimeCon (Netherlands), JapanExpo (France) and Connichi (Germany). Maybe I will go to a convention in Portugal too, but thats not for sure for now.
10. What is your limit budget for a cosplay ?
There is never a limit if you fall in love with a cosplay. Ok, I have to admit, I would not pay +100,00€ for a simple school uniform. But I love my hobby and when there is a character and a cosplay I really love, money doesn't matter. The only thing that needs to be taken care of: first pay for your living expenses then pay for your hobby. Food is more important than fabric.
11. Any future super secret cosplay project in mind ?
Not at this time. I'm nearly an open book for 2017.
12. What are you doing in "real" life for a living ?
I'm just working in the office of a small construction company. Doing a lot of paper work, drinking coffee and talking with my coworkers. It's really relaxing and is fitting great with my current private life.
13. You best experience from a convention ? And your worst ?
It's not really at convention but I think the best experience so far was to be part of the WCS 2016 as Team Germany. I think no convention or experience is comparable to this one in a lifetime chance. My worst experience … I don't think there was ever a situation I would describe as “the worst”. Sure, there are times when some things are not going well or situations when you want to cry. But nothing of this was ever as bad as to say it was the worst. There are things in my private life which are much worse.
14. Any advice for cosplay beginners ?
You should never lose the fun in your hobby. There will be times when something doesn't work, but never give up. When you are a beginner there will always be some parts or things you didn't know and might be hard to overcome. Of course this can be frustrating sometimes. But it's ok to make small steps and just doing what you can. You don't need to make a big armor cosplay for a first cosplay, a school uniform or a pretty dress is also good. The more you will do, the more experience you will get and then everything will work out. I also have times when some parts of a cosplay don't work like I want. Then I take a break, put the costume away for the day and start new the next day. It's really important to feel comfortable with everything you do. So doing cosplay when you have to force yourself is wrong. You will lose the fun and enjoyment of the hobby. And that would be really sad.
15. Do you have limits ? Some cosplays you will never make ?
As I already mentioned, I'm really bad at crafting. So I think making a full armor is out of my reach. And since I'm not really strong, cosplays with big wings or other heavy parts on your back, might never work with my body. I think I have really strict limits with my physical abilities.
Her page on worldcosplay : https://worldcosplay.net/member/Chiko
Her page on animexx : http://animexx.onlinewelten.com/cosplay/mitglied/16467/?x=3&ssl_redirected=25004866